It’s time to get excited, and a little nervous, for tomorrow’s first of three classes of “Vegan: As Easy as You Want.”
They’re in the conference room of Ozark Natural Foods (not in the store but several doors up in its office), and as of Monday, two-thirds full, says ONF Community Outreach Coordinator Heather Artripe. Reserve a remaining seat — free! — by emailing her or phone the store (479) 521-7558. The classes run from 6-7:30 p.m. the next three Thursdays, Oct, 10, 17 and 24. The web page for the class is “Vegan, Softly.”
The idea behind the course is outlined in the Brick “Vegan — As Easy as You Want.” In short, a basic non-meat, non-dairy diet can be tasty, filling, fully nutritious and kind to your body, especially when you cut oils as well.
Gluten-free and other diet trends? That is helping some people, yet it’s a step past “easy.” On the other side, pouring soymilk into bowls of no-sugar-added cereals is so easy these three classes would drop to one 30-second Internet video — maybe 10 seconds.
Thursday, participants will learn a little about me, about the Kickstart diet plan of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine — and, sure, how great cold or hot cereal is — then moving to three cooking demonstrations:
- Kickstart Pancakes
- Pan of Vegan Sausage
- Breakfast Taco-dillas
The recipes will be handed out, as will plates and sporks for sampling.
I found out today that this diet is great but not quite as miraculous as it seemed in June, discussed in the Brick “An Omnivore’s Manifesto.” Back in April, I began the PCRM’s 21-Day Kickstart plant-based diet. My cholesterol levels have been climbing slowly for three decades despite dropping meat and poultry about two dozen years ago and being prescribed Lipitor then lovastatin beginning at the turn of the century.
My June blood work showed that total cholesterol dropped — from 12 months earlier — 244 to 159 with triglycerides and LDL down, 161 to 78, 147 to 85, respectively. HDL was up, which it should be in heart-healthy people, 49 to 58. But that was while taking lovastatin.
The lab work persuaded my doctor to cancel my prescription, but he wanted to see me in four months to see the impact of no medication. Did that Monday.
My HDL now is slightly down but still a healthy 55. Total cholesterol is 203, just three ticks up from normal. LDL is 117, in the under-130 good range. Triglycerides is 151, one notch up from no-worries. Yet the doc wrote me that he sees no reason for me to resume the pills — unless I resume consuming animal products.
I’m not planning to. My weight is within two pounds of the high school weight I resumed last spring. My energy is high.
Who needs sour cream when there’s hummus for dipping whole-grain chips into? Hummus you can make cheaply. And as will be shown in Class # 3, it’s easy.